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Interview with Jack the Giant Slayer, CEO of Golden Eggs Inc. as he shares his tips for SME growth.
Jack, I’m sure many of our readers will have heard your story, but can you take us back the start of the business?
Thanks Brett, I’d be delighted to. As you know, our family had a long history in primary production, the farm produced high quality dairy goods and we created a niche market for ourselves specialising in cheeses. But with the drought, rising power costs and the impact of imports, the business fell on hard times. So, we were forced to rethink our strategy about where future growth might come from.
What did you do?
We made the decision to sell off some our assets and jumped at the chance of getting into a new area of agriculture – magic beans. In my case this high risk strategy of chasing magic beans paid dividends, but I recommend others take a different path, rather than gambling with their futures like I did.
- When faced with business growth challenges, consider the following – what are the big business problems you solve for your past and current customers? Now add to this list with the business problems that might lead a company to look for the solution you offer.
- Rationalise this list of problems against your buyer’s propensity to spend big to make their pain go away. Then, funnel this list down to a small group – I recommend concentrating on one single problem you focus your business around solving.
Thanks Jack, certainly a different path to yours! But I know your story doesn’t finish there, it still took a lot of hard work for you to succeed. Please share the rest of your story about your climb to the top of Golden Eggs Inc.
Right you are Brett, even with magic beans, the climb was tortuous. At first glance, that beanstalk was an extremely daunting prospect. I couldn’t see beyond the clouds, and as I continued to climb, each stage of the beanstalk presented risk of me falling to my demise.
I’m sure it’s a story all too common to your readers – especially when focusing their sales and marketing efforts, attempting to deliver the revenue they need to grow their business and meet their targets. Fortunately at Golden Egg’s Inc, we now take a far more deliberate approach to planning our growth, unlike those risky times.
- I was really lucky when I climbed the beanstalk because I made it to the top, but we know that’s not always the case. Before anything, your prospects and customers need to identify the problem, understand and define the need, and then decipher the solution. Let’s call this the ‘Buyer’s Journey’. You should always track your buyer’s journey, research how long they took, how many actually made it through to the end, how many times your sales team needed to interact, and on average – how much did they spend? Armed with this data, you can start to build a predictive model, and what I like to call, a ‘Funnel Plan’.
A Funnel Plan? Would you mind expanding on that quickly Jack?
Sure Brett, it’s a Sales and Marketing tool that allows you to understand your objectives, buyer, competition, sales problems, and revenue. It evaluates the way you can reach your consumers, using strategically designed tactics, then executes those tactics through channels they would most likely use. Not only does it do all of this on one page though, it also does the maths, and establishes how you would recycle the leads you lost throughout the buyers journey.
Sounds very interesting Jack. Let’s now talk about competition. Like many CEO’s you were faced with a big ugly competitor, in your case he wanted to ‘grind your bones to make his bread’? Sounds pretty challenging. What advice do you have for our readers about dealing with strong competitors?
There are always competitive challenges in any business and in my case it was certainly extreme. I needed to deal with the giant before I could get into full production at Golden Egg – and we all know how challenging that was. My strategy to defeat the giant was to identify those small spaces in which I had a competitive advantage. In my case, speed and nimbleness were key and I focused my energies on that advantage – we continue to execute this way.
That brings me to my third and final growth tip:
- Consider a broad list of competing alternatives, some traditional, some do-it-yourself. Rationalise down your key competitors solving the same problem you’ve focused your business around. Then break down the sources of competitive strength. Look at your competitor’s uniqueness in the market, the cost leader – and where you sit in comparison, and how referenceable they are.
- If you know all this, you can determine the competing alternative representing your greatest threat, and target your resources to combat their strength.
Sometimes the giant is obvious, but in other cases it’s the mouse you have to fear!
Thanks Jack, that’s great advice for our readers, any final advice for our readers?
Final thing Brett, finding the goose that laid the golden egg was only the start of the journey for us. Like most companies, our growth journey followed a series of well-thought, well-executed steps. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the thrill and excitement of climbing that beanstalk and taking on the giant, but Golden Egg Inc. succeeded by systematically executing a clear plan. And for us, that clear plan – is Funnel Plan.
Being a start-up is exciting, but leading a successful high growth business with a clear plan is better! Take the next step in building your plan for growth and build your sales and marketing plan.